Mackenzie Robson

Essex Power makes annual $10,000 donation to the town

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Essex Powerlines has continued its “Youth in Community Fund” donations with Amherstburg getting its $10,000 share Monday night.

Essex Power Corporation is making a $40,000 donation through its Youth in Community Fund with it being shared among Amherstburg, Leamington, LaSalle and Tecumseh to “advance local, youth related investment.” To date, Essex Power says it has funded a total of $160,000 youth driven initiatives in the communities it serves.

Some of the proceeds will be going to the Essex Empowerment Group, a group of about 15 girls from across the area that meet Wednesday nights at the Libro Centre. The girls are mainly from Amherstburg at this point and range in age from 10-14.

The Essex Empowerment group is newly formed, said manager of recreation services Rick Daly and “focuses on mentorship and positive role modelling. This program is unique because it was created, developed and ran by youth, for youth.”

Daly added that “Essex Power has given us the opportunity to run a program that empowers young girls to be the strongest and most true version of themselves that they can be.’

“As a father of four girls, I am glad to see that a girls empowerment group thanks to my place of employment,” said Joe Barile, general manager of Essex Powerlines.

Essex Powerlines general manager Joe Barile presents a $10,000 cheque to Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and the Essex Empowerment Group Monday night. The money is through the “Youth in Community” fund.

Essex Powerlines general manager Joe Barile presents a $10,000 cheque to Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and the Essex Empowerment Group Monday night. The money is through the “Youth in Community” fund.

Essex Empowerment Group facilitators Elizabeth Di Paolo and Mackenzie Robson said the money their group will receive will help the group grow its programming and expand its membership. Such topics they discuss include self-esteem, bullying, relationships and being a positive role model.

“They all come from diverse backgrounds,” Di Paolo said of the membership.

Robson said the group “has really opened my eyes” and that was something Di Paolo agreed with.

Barile would also tell council about other works of Essex Power. He noted in 2005, the provincial control over hydro bills was at about 75 per cent while the provincial portion of a typical hydro bill is now 81 per cent.

Essex Power tries to keep the share of the rates near the rate of inflation and works with customers on how to save energy, said Barile. He said Essex Power is on pace to meet its conservation targets for the period of 2015-20.

As for outages, Barile said many are due to tree contacting power lines. Due to maintenance, that number has dropped from about 30 in 2005 to less than five in 2016, according to Barile. They have also developed in-house technology to better manage the grid, he added.
The town’s cumulative dividend over the last five years is over $1.1 million, he added, and that the company also continues to invest in infrastructure. They are the 16th most efficient distribution company in Ontario as opposed to Hydro One, which is 66th.

Essex Power has expressed interest in acquiring more Hydro One shares in Amherstburg, with Barile acknowledging that some streets see customers served by Essex Power on one side and Hydro One on the other.

Councillor Diane Pouget said the previous council made its share of mistakes but one mistake they didn’t make was selling their Essex Power shares.

Councillor Rick Fryer said many still have difficulty paying their bills, primarily due to the 81 per cent share of the bills controlled by the province.

“That 81 per cent is hurting a lot of residents,” said Fryer.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo pointed out the money that comes back to the town from Essex Power every year.

“I can honestly say Essex Power is a partner,” said DiCarlo.

Youth leadership skills lead Robson to England

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Mackenzie Robson travelled to the Hugh O’Brien Leadership Camp (HOBY) last year at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus but this year she is going much farther.

Robson, 16, is heading for England to attend a HOBY U.K. conference and she will be one of the youth mentors. Her essay last year at the southwestern Ontario HOBY conference saw her win a $1,000 scholarship but she was unable to attend a conference later that year in Chicago.

Originally born in England, Robson will travel there this year for the U.K. Conference after being in touch with John Sharples of the HOBY U.K. organization.

“(Sharples) said ‘we’d love to have you as a group leader’,” said Robson, adding she was the only Canadian to come to the conference.

Mackenzie Robson is heading to a HOBY conference in England. She left today though the conference is next week. Robson, who was born in England, will also visit family during her time there.

Mackenzie Robson is heading to a HOBY conference in England. She left today though the conference is next week. Robson, who was born in England, will also visit family during her time there.

The conference will be held at Lancaster University. Robson leaves Wednesday with the actual conference being March 30-April 3. She will return to Canada April 10 and will also visit family in England while she is there. A scholarship is helping to pay for her plane tickets and a portion of her entry fee.

“I’m so excited,” said Robson. “It’s definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity, for sure.”

The group she will lead will be known as “Team Canada” with Robson bringing Canadian paraphernalia over for her team members to wear. She will also promote shelter boxes while overseas, as each member has to present a project they feel strongly about.

“(Shelter boxes) are sponsored by Rotary and they helped me out a lot,” said Robson, who is part of the Amherstburg Rotary Club-sponsored Interact Club at General Amherst High School.

Once she returns from England, she will also go back to the southwestern Ontario HOBY where she will be a group leader.

Robson was also one of the Interact Club members who recently travelled to Michigan for a “Peace Summit” with the local members having a clothing drive to help the homeless. They ended up collecting nine garbage bags of clothing and winter wear and that gave them the top prize among all the attendees. Their prize was a giant Rice Krispie square.

“It was worth it. It was funny,” said Robson.

The Grade 11 student added she is thankful to the Rotary Club for their support and the club’s support of the Interact Club. She was one of the Interact members who gave a presentation to Amherstburg Rotarians recently with each member getting a “Service Above Self” coin.

In a related note, the Amherstburg Rotary Club has also started a new Facebook page. That page can be accessed by visiting www.facebook.com/amherstburgrotary.